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Stranger Than Fiction: The 2010 Yale University MFA Thesis Show

Stranger Than Fiction: The 2010 Yale University MFA Thesis Show


Ribs by Mónika Sziládi

Stranger Than Fiction is the 2010 Yale University School of Art MFA photography thesis show curated by Soraja Helac and Sabrina Wirth from Helac & Wirth Art Advisory. The show at 25CPW will feature a selection of photographs from each of the nine graduating MFA students: David Bush, Lucas Foglia, Kate Greene, Tatiana Grigorenko, Curran Hatleberg, Tiffani Hooper, Rory Mulligan, Hrvoje Slovenc, and Mónika Sziládi. Stranger Than Fiction will be on view June 4–June 14 at 25CPW in New York City, the opening reception will be held on Friday, June 4th, 6–9pm, suggested donation of $5.


Untitled by Kate Greene


Untitled by Dave Bush


Sledding by Tatiana Grigorenko


Untitled by Tiffani Hooper


Alex Running Home, Smoot, Wyoming 2009 by Lucas Foglia


Charlottesville, VA by Curran Hatleberg


Home Blessing by Hrvoje Slovenc


Self Ecstasy by Rory Kelleher


  1. I would love to read what these students, and their teachers, have to say about what it is that makes these pictures special because I really don’t get it. Anybody else out there?

  2. John- What I think you’re missing is the fact that these are single selections from larger bodies of work from each individual artist. What makes them, uh, “special” is the amount of time and thought that goes into each individuals project. I’m sure the (world-renowned) faculty and each photographer represented here would love nothing more than the opportunity to try to explain why their work is “special” to someone that spent no more than 5 seconds looking at or thinking about one of their photographs. However someone that needs these things explained to them will probably fail to understand this no matter how rich of a visual experience their provided with or how meticulous of an explanation is given.

  3. John, this is a very brief sampling of an MFA exhibition from one of the most intense photography graduate programs in the world, not a ‘Best Macro Bug Photos of the Year 2010’ sampling. The specialness isn’t on the surface, but is instead about personally connecting to an image and a body of images. Saying that you ‘fail to see what is so special’ is like skimming one page of War and Peace and saying, “I don’t get why this Tolstoy guy is published.”

  4. @untitled pieces – How about you call them “messin’ round with a 4×5” or something like that. @Dean – go if you want to see some amazing stand alone photos: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/unveiling-the-pictures-of-the-year/?hp
    @Kyle – 02_Kate photo isn’t really a very good ‘Best Macro Fern Shot 2010’ it is not – an average macro fern shot maybe. Pretending it’s more than that is just silly – whether it’s a piece of a larger show or a stand alone. At the very least all of these photos should get me to want to investigate further, to discover the thinking behind them, but they don’t. I suspect this has much to do with the quality of the images as it does with the way they are presented here in this set of selects. Not very inspired …

  5. I find it interesting that the disparaging comments were localized around the “fern” image (Untitled, by Kate Greene), while no other particular example(s) were given to criticize.

    Indeed, to paraphrase Dean, one should take more than five seconds to study these works (sampling that it is)…I, for one, find the colors and inclusion of decay in the “fern” image quite beautiful. Also, “Untitled” by Tiffani Hooper has a haunting and suggestive composition (is this a “scene” from a Hitchcock film? Or, has the person in the photo passed out in the tub; killed themselves; simply relaxing?). Likewise, “Ribs” by Mónika Sziládi has an amazing, fleeting compositional rigor (a Cartier-Bresson “Moment” if there ever was one in THIS day and age), and with all of those signified/signifier’s whipping by (suits, ties, dresses, ribs, camcorders, dollar bills…), how can you NOT be impressed by such a work? It’s fantastic!

    I could go on and give the other shots their due, but the point is quite clear: open your eyes and SEE. See these images with a clear mind (free of professional jealously, arrogance, or whatever it is you people seem to be bringing to the table here). The rewards will be significant.

    Best of luck to the photographers! Beautiful work.

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